Sorting of votes underway for Kerry constituency

Sorting of votes in the Kerry constituency is continuing this morning.

Initial indications show that, like the rest of the country, incumbent Michael D Higgins has the backing of the county to return to Aras an Uachtarain.

Boxes in the Kerry constituency began to be opened at 9 o’clock this morning.

Returning Officer Padraig Burke told the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre that the count staff would begin by sorting the Presidential Election ballot papers from those in the Blasphemy Referendum.

The first preferences in the Presidential Election will then be counted and if there is time then the count staff will deal with the referendum ballots.

Precedence will be afforded to the Presidential Election though, he said.

Doubtful papers will also be identified so they can be adjudicated upon.

Unusually, there are no tallies being carried out here in the count centre in Kerry.

But unofficial tallies are being carried out – they suggest that Michael D Higgins will have between 50 and 55% of the vote, Peter Casey on 30%, Liadh Ni Riada on around 8% and they are followed by Joan Freeman, Sean Gallagher and Gavin Duffy.

These figures come with a larger health warning that normal due to the lack of an accurate tally.

Interestingly, there are a number of ballot papers in the Blasphemy Referendum showing no preference, perhaps indicating the electorate were unsure of what they were voting on or having a degree of apathy on the subject.